Local contestants earn second chance at IIFR

By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
Navajo Times

FARMINGTON, August 29, 2013

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S haraya Edgewater went into the All Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association championship finals looking for a second chance.

The 15-year-old junior barrel racer qualified for the International Indian Finals Rodeo last year after she won the average in the junior barrels at the AIRCA finals.

She didn't do well at the IIFR last year but now she'll have a second chance. She was a repeat champion this past weekend, which earned her an automatic qualification to this year's IIFR.

"I can't wait for this year," Edgewater said about the IIFR in October. "I feel better about this year, and getting my horse to work better. Let's see how it goes."

The Greasewood Springs, Ariz. native was seeded second in the AIRCA standings going into the finals that was held Aug. 24-25 at McGee Park in Farmington.

The top four finishers of the AIRCA finals qualified for a spot in the IIFR, which will be held in San Carlos, Ariz., on Oct. 7-13.

Edgewater finished with an average time of 48.32 on three runs and earned $1,231, but she said her best performance happened in the third-go round.

She said her first two performances were faster but she almost tipped two barrels in that final round.

She said keeping the barrels up will be something she keeps in mind when she prepares for the IIFR. Last year at the IIFR, Edgewater said her horse 'Trinity' had a tendency to drop her shoulders and dive in toward the barrels.

"That kind of got me out of it (the IIFR competition)," she said.

Edgewater wasn't the only one looking for another shot at the IIFR as bareback rider Delvecchio Kaye was also wanting another chance.

Kaye, 21, who has qualified for the AIRCA finals and IIFR numerous times has yet to earn a world title.

He said the competition at the finals was tough, but for him the luck of the draw was in his favor.

"If you have a good draw throughout the whole week you'll come out on top," Kaye said.

He said his performances in the finals were all thanks to the mental preparation and encouragement from his father.

"My dad said 'Just clear your head, don't worry about the money or anything, just ride your horse,'" he said. "That's what I did this week."

Kaye is used to getting advice behind the chutes from his father, Wilfred Kaye, a long-time bareback rider. But things are different this year since his father will be guiding him from the sidelines.

At the finals, Kaye went a perfect 3-for-3.

In the first round, he rode a horse called 'Pretty Eyes' for a score of 76 points before earning a 75-point ride on 'V-S' in the second round. In last performance, Kaye capped his weekend with a 68-point effort on 'Falling Angels' and collected $1,000.

The finals paid out well over $43,000 and qualified 35 contestants for this year's IIFR, with some contestants qualifying for the first time.

Donovan Yazzie of Coyote Canyon, N.M. was named this year's all-around cowboy at AIRCA championship finals.

He won $265 in the first round of the steer wrestling event by placing third with a 6.4 run. In the tie-down event, he won the average with an aggregate of 33.4 seconds on three heads and collected an additional $1,457 for a grand total of $1,722.

Kim R. Jim, from Shiprock, N.M., was one of the IIFR's new qualifiers. She came in first in the ladies breakaway event. She had an average time of 21.0 seconds in three runs.

Jim said she has qualified for the AIRCA finals before but this will be her first time going to the IIFR. She said the excitement has not settled in.

"It hasn't kick in yet, probably until I get home," she said. "I'm also happy about my horses' performance. I'm more proud of him."

Jim said she's had her horse 'Damage' for about a year and he has a tendency to get shy once he's inside the box. She said his performance surprised her in a good way.

"He's a really tough horse..." she said. "Sometimes he shuts me down but he was pretty much on his game today."

Jim took home $1,100.

Senior breakaway roper Tyrone Alcott was another first-time qualifier.

Alcott, 55, said he has qualified for the AIRCA finals too many times to remember but this year he will be competing at the next level, instead of watching family members contend for a world title.

"It's about time," Alcott said. "That's what I worked for all year."

Alcott said his last performance, where he roped his calf in 3.3 seconds was his best performance as he finished the average race with a 7.9 effort by catching two of three calves.

He said he watched his draw run twice and that made it easier for him to perform.

"I just needed to run out there and rope it," he said.

Alcott collected $975 over the weekend and to help prepare for the IIFR he'll continue to rope, starting with calf roping event at next week's Navajo Nation Fair.

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